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TOPIC: Iron Levels and Oxidative Stress

Iron Levels and Oxidative Stress 12 years 5 months ago #1

  • bolam56
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A few thoughts on Iron and Oxidative Stress...

I recently had a chance to learn a lot about hemochromatosis (iron overload disorder) and the oxidative stress that causes damage from this disease. Hemochromatosis is a genetic disorder found most often (1 in 300 to 400) in people of Northern European and especially people of English, Irish, Scottish, and Welsh descent. It's easy to treat (blood letting), but often goes undiagnosed until the patient is very ill.

This really hit home for me, as my MCS was caused by phenoxyethanol, and hemolysis is a known problem with glycol exposure. The process of hemolysis releases free iron into the blood. Could this be how my oxidative stress cycle got started? Iron is very reactive to oxygen, and even a minor overload could cause a problem.

Fellow MCS sufferers may wish to look into hemochromatosis/iron overload, or hemolysis from glycol exposure. Glycols are everywhere now days... Especially in cosmetics. A possible link to the higher incidence of MCS in the female population? Women of child bearing age rarely have iron overload problems as menstruation automatically reduces iron levels; however I believe there is a spike in MCS when women reach middle age, where hysterectomy or menopause stop this process... Can you confirm these stats Maff (the female middle age MCS spike)? Females are often advised to take iron supplements, and many may be taking them when they are no longer menstruating. If this is true, we may be on to something here.

A simple blood test from your GP is all you need to look at your iron levels. This should include serum iron, iron binding capacity and especially ferritin levels (stored iron). Ferritin is not a part of a normal blood panel, and this is why this disease is often overlooked. Serum iron and iron binding are often only slightly off, while ferritin may be sky high. The \"out of range\" high for ferritin is often listed as 300 on the lab report, but normal levels are really best when well under 100.

I was a blood donor for many years before my chemical injury was diagnosed, and looking back, I seem to recall feeling better in the weeks after a blood donation in regards to my chemical sensitivities. I plan on trying a blood donation again (if the blood bank will have me!) to see if this helps. Perhaps others with MCS might try this also. A word of warning... The needle used for blood donation is a bit bigger than for a simple blood draw for lab testing. It really doesn't hurt very much, but it is impressive when you first see it.
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Re:Iron Levels and Oxidative Stress 12 years 5 months ago #2

  • Maff
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Interesting thoughts there. It is certainly plausible that excess iron could trigger the oxidative stress cycle that seems to be a major part of MCS and related conditions. Like you say, iron is well known to be strong pro-oxidant.

Incidentally I seem to remember having a regular blood count done when I first developed chemical sensitivities and my iron was on the high side. I dismissed it at the time as of little significance as the test also showed leukopenia (low white blood cells)!

Figures for prevalence of MCS are very hard to come by due to MCS not being officially recognised. However, there does seem to be a strong bias towards women and possibly middle-aged women in particular. Research carried out by Pamela Reed Gibson PhD based on a survey of MCS sufferers in 1993 found that of 305 people surveyed, 80% were women and their mean age was 46.8 years. So that certainly ties in with what you are saying. Of course it's possible that this is due to middle-aged women being more happy to get involved with such research!

If MCS is more prevalent amongst middle-aged women it does seem that iron could be a possible explanation. Another possible explanation comes from recent research that found that the serotonin system works differently in men and women. The researchers concluded that the differences make it more likely for women to suffer from depression, irritable bowel syndrome, fibromyalgia, and other conditions in which serotonin dysregulation plays a role. I am willing to bet that MCS is one such condition.

I wrote a news article about the serotonin research if anybody would like to learn more:

http://www.ei-resource.org/news/mental-&-emotional-problem-news/serotonin-differences-between-sexes-may-explain-illness-risk/<br /><br />Post edited by: Maff, at: 2008/03/05 22:17
If you are going through hell, keep going - Winston Churchill
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Re:Iron Levels and Oxidative Stress 12 years 5 months ago #3

  • bolam56
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More on Iron, ROS and the NO cycle.

\"Interplay between ferritin metabolism, reactive oxygen species and nitric oxide\"

P. Lipi&#324;ski1 and Jean-Claude Drapier2

Abstract: &#8194;The biological relevance of each of the three inorganic species – iron, oxygen, and nitric oxide (NO) – is crucial. Moreover, their metabolic pathways cross each other and thus create a complex network of connections responsible for the regulation of many essential biological processes. The iron storage protein ferritin, one of the main regulators of iron homeostasis, influences oxygen and NO metabolism. Here, examples are given of the biological interactions of the ferritin molecule (ferritin iron and ferritin shell) with reactive oxygen species (ROS) and NO. The focus is the regulation of ferritin expression by ROS and NO. From these data, ferritin emerges as an important cytoprotective component of the cellular response to ROS and NO. Also, by its ability to alter the amount of intracellular \"free\" iron, ferritin may affect the metabolism of ROS and NO. It is proposed that this putative activity of ferritin may constitute a missing link in the regulatory loop between iron, ROS, and NO.
Key words&#8194;Ferritin - Iron - Nitric oxide - Reactive oxygen species
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